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Sean Payton Press Conference Transcript

From the New Orleans Saints official website

Opening Statement:

PAYTON: "A couple of notes from yesterday: we waived Buck Ortega and signed Courtney Robyin his place and then Matt Simon was released off the practice squad and we signed Tyler Lorenzen, a tight end, to the practice squad. Today's notes, injury-wise: Jammal Brown (hip) did not participate; Darnell Dinkins (foot) did not practice; Jermon Bushrod (ankle) did not practice;Kendrick Clancy (knee) did not practice; Tracy Porter (knee) did not practice; Jeremy Shockey(ankle) did not practice; Pierre Thomas (knee) was full; Usama Young (shoulder) was full; Roman Harper (hamstring) was limited."


Jeremy Shockey said something about getting kicked in the heel. Is that the same injury?

PAYTON: "I just think there's soreness. We just rested it and we'll see where he's at tomorrow."

Are you encouraged by what you saw from Pierre Thomas in practice today?

PAYTON: "He's getting better. The key is to keep measuring the progress day by day, but he is getting healthier."

Is carrying only two healthy tight ends a little light?

PAYTON: "It's light, as you would compare it to normal rosters, and yet we'll keep working with the young player we just signed on the practice squad and keep looking at that position."

What was the thinking behind bringing Courtney Roby back?

PAYTON: "He was one of the guys that potentially would have made the team in the event of suspensions, so he and I talked when he left. He's a guy that gives us some juice as a returner and also as a cover guy. I thought Robert (Meachem) did a great job on kickoff return, so it really wasn't predicated as much on how we return kicks as much as we're getting another guy who can cover, play gunner and do all those things. That was the main reason. And he can certainly return kicks."

What is your reaction to the ruling yesterday that Charles Grant and Will Smith will be able to play?

PAYTON: "Like we've said all along, we waited to hear and you guys heard it as we did. We support the league and the decision they made and we have been all along. Obviously it's good news."

Is it too early to tell how it will affect you this year?

PAYTON: "Again, that's not the question for me. Right now we just keep going full speed ahead and try to focus on the upcoming team we're playing with the personnel we have. But it really was something that we were not involved with and just waiting to hear."

Do you appreciate the reasoning that it would be a matter of fairness?

PAYTON: "Sure. You bet."

Did Pierre run comfortably with the brace on his knee?

PAYTON: "He looked good. Again, for him it's just getting back into the flow of things with the conditioning level and everything that goes with it. He's moving around and it was good to see him do that today."

Is it kind of a big brace for a runner to be wearing?

PAYTON: "It's fairly common for that type of injury in the early stages of it. He did look a little bit like a fullback today with that on."

You had said about Darren Sharper that he was one of the guys where you had to "see it" every so often. Had he already passed that test with you?

PAYTON: "I think so. I thought he had a good training camp. He was healthy; he had his weight down. He has great ball skills and it was great to see him make a few plays the other day. He did a good job. The ball kind of finds him. He's one of those players that's around it a lot. That was encouraging. To answer your question, yes."

With Bushrod a little nicked up, are you still comfortable with your depth at offensive tackle?

PAYTON: "We have some flexibility there but hopefully we'll have him back tomorrow and we'll see."

Did you have any doubts that you'd see a good performance from him?

PAYTON: "You don't try to pre-determine; you try to pay attention to what you're seeing and since he's been here, he has done a good job."

How concerned are you about the special teams?

PAYTON: "It's just one aspect. I think we'll be a lot better. We expect to be a lot better this week; we're going to have to be. It's correcting those mistakes - fortunately they are mistakes that we can clean up and the improvement from week one to week two is important, not only in the kicking game but in the other aspects of our game. That will be one focal point for us in the game; especially a game like this one."

So you brought Roby back to get better in coverage as much as anything?

PAYTON: "Yes. He provides us another core player and a guy that we think is pretty good as a returner."

With the Eagles being a very opportunistic and aggressive defense, is ball security even more important this week?

PAYTON: "They had seven turnovers against Carolina and they do a good job of forcing those turnovers. The history of that team has always been aggressive and has always thrived on creating those turnovers and putting the offense on a short field. That's something that we have to pay close attention to in a game like this."

How much extra work has to go in when you're preparing for the potential for two different quarterbacks?

PAYTON: "The work starts with the offense. You prepare for the offense and you know that it could subtly change. The thing Donovan (McNabb) does such a great job with is extending plays. He has done that for years where you think you have him covered and then he climbs the pocket, flushes and makes the throw. Those are the things that are hard to practice when you know he's playing. More than anything else right now is paying attention to the offense and the personnel they have and the weapons they have."



Saints Player Quotes


Tracy Porter, right cornerback
On his knee: "It's gotten better since Sunday. Now I'm just waiting on what the coaches want to do and what the trainers want to do.

How'd you get injured:'I went in for the tackle and banged into the running back. Just a little bruise, nothing too serious.

Jeremy Shockey, tight end
What do you recall from playing in Philly (with New York)? "It's a hostile environment. Philadelphia has some great fans who get into the game. Some of these guys I was talking to earlier, 'You don't know what you're getting into.' Things getting thrown at the bus, little kids flipping you off. Whatever you can imagine."

Does the hostile environment help opposing teams in a way? "Andy Reid's done a great job over the years, the past 10 years since he has been there. The past 10 years we were looking at today they have a great winning percentage at home."

Pierre Thomas, running back
You're pretty adamant about playing? "So far, the response is everything is good. They ask me how I feel and I tell them great. I believe I'm going to play. My mindset is I'm playing Sunday regardless. But I've got to go by what the coaches say. I'm trying to convince them to let me play Sunday."

Have you played with a brace before? "I have played with a brace before in college. Same thing, I kind of tweaked my MCL, my left one, and I had a big brace on. It was against Michigan State. At halftime I came back with a big brace and everything was fine."

Charles Grant, defensive end
(Bear with me, this is a long winded, rambling quote)
How do you feel for Jamar Nesbit, who took a four-game suspension for the same thing? "I feel sorry for him. But on behalf of me and will Smith, we want to thank the Commissioner for his decision and going back and making it a fair deal. A lot of people don't know we sat in their office for 12½ hours and listened to everything that goes on. A lot of people say, 'Well, just go ahead and get it over with.' Me and Will were the ones struggling inside. It comes as a period of relief yesterday for us to be able to go out and help this team accomplish something.

"Me and will both, to another point, a lot of people look at us, 'Them guys get paid the high dollars but how are they producing?' That's what me and Will talked about in the offseason. That's one of our main focuses right now, producing to become one of the premier bookends they consider us to be in this league."

Will Smith, defensive end
Talk about the whole experience?"It was a long process, kind of like you're on trial, but at the end of the day, we're happy with the decision that the commissioner has made. I feel as if we can move on and focus on the Philadelphia Eagles."



Andy Reid Press Conference Transcript

From the New Orleans Saints official website

Q: Can you talk about how you guys have lost Jim Johnson and Pete Jenkins and how the team is dealing with that?

REID: It was tough on everybody here, players and coaches. At the same time, we all know how Jim would have wanted it handled, so that's the way we're going about it. We're concentrating on football and being the best team we could possibly be.

Q: How did Jenkins end up on your staff?

REID: Juan Castillo our offensive line coach and Pete were real good friends and Juan had recommended him to me. I had known about Pete who is a legend at the college level as far as defensive line coaches go. He put out so many players and coached. I liked the fundaments and techniques he taught. Juan introduced me to him and I ended up interviewing him and hiring him.

Q: Have you gotten any closer on your decision to who you might start at quarterback and what will enter into your decision ultimately?

REID: Really I'm taking it day by day literally. That's kind of what you do with rib injuries. You just kind of see how the thing heals up. It was fractured, so it takes a little bit of time. It was fractured all the way through. It was a stress fracture. We'll see how it heals up here. We're literally taking it day by day. Then if he does not play, then Kevin Kolb's the quarterback, Jeff Garcia will back him up and we still know that Michael Vick can't play for another week here.

Q: Is it true this will be Kevin's first week practicing with the first group during team drills?

REID: Right.

Q: What advantages will that give him in preparing for an opponent?

REID: The ones in our system and I'm sure it's the same way with Sean (Payton)...The ones take all the reps when the offense is up. He'll be in charge of the offense during the practice here. It allows him to get 100 percent of the reps, which I would say is most different from coming in as a relief pitcher there, as a backup.

Q: Do you build a game plan knowing Kevin's the guy or do you stay with your system?

REID: We don't change much. It's what we do. We did it throughout training camp. We'll stick with the system there.

Q: I'm sure you noticed on the game film that Darren Sharper is still at it. How many times have you gone up against him in the past and what makes him such a difficult opponent?

REID: He's smart and in our case, he's seen this offense once or twice. I actually was with Darren his first couple years in Green Bay. He's gone against this offense many times and he's always had great instincts to the ball.

Q: What kind of defensive back do you fear more, is it a guy who is fast and has that makeup speed or a guy who is going to read what you're trying to do?

REID: You like the combination of both and that's something that he's had during his career. He could always run real well and he has the great instincts, obviously this past week with the interceptions he's had. Talking about Darren, he was a combination guy. I would say that I like guys that are football players like that. I like guys that have the instincts and the awareness of where the ball's going and sometimes a guy can be a little bit slower and sometimes be very successful at this level.

Q: Kevin Kolb is not a guy we are real familiar with because we don't see him a lot. What is it that you like about him and makes him stand out as a quarterback?

REID: Some of the things I saw at the University of Houston are that he was at a program that changed around from not being very successful to being very successful. He had a lot of personal success there. I liked his leadership ability and physical attributes. He was mobile, he had good feet.

Q: Do you have any thoughts about the NFL's decision on Charles Grant and Will Smith this week?

REID: I think it's great that they can play. Right now, I wouldn't want it any other way. Those guys are great players and they've worked hard. I respect the decision of the league and what they did there. They're great players.

Q: From a coaching point did you empathize with what Sean Payton was going to not knowing if he could count on their availability from week to week?

REID: I understand. I understand in that I have Michael (Vick) in the same type of situation here. I completely understand. The New Orleans Saints are lucky to have Sean Payton. He's a heck of a coach. I can feel for him on that deal though.

Q: What did you think of New Orleans' offensive performance on Sunday?

REID: I had Drew Brees over at the Pro Bowl this past year. That's an impressive guy, a very impressive guy. It doesn't surprise me what he's done over the years here. He's a heck of a player.

Q: Asides from guys on your roster, is any NFL quarterback playing better than Brees right now, maybe the last season and one game?

REID: I don't know. He looks as good as anybody in this league. My hat's off to him. Fundamentally he's as sound as anybody that's come through here.

Q: As impressive as the Saints offense was the other day how impressive was your defense against Carolina?

REID: The ball bounced right for us. Our guys played fast and hard, so I was proud of them for that. They're a good bunch of guys.




Darren Howard Press Conference Transcript

From the New Orleans Saints official website

Q: Did you think that the hit on Donovan McNabb that broke his rib was a late hit and that a flag should have been thrown?

HOWARD: I don't know. I'm not a referee. I thought it was unnecessary. It was late obviously. It wasn't in the field of play. I don't know if it should have been a flag.

Q: Can you talk about how the defense ran on Sunday and the transition in coordinators from Jim Johnson to Sean McDermott?

HOWARD: Not much difference. We have a few new wrinkles. It's based off the same defense. They've been together for 11 years here. There's not a lot of difference. They are two different personalities, but as far as team wise, they are pretty similar.

Q: What kind of relationship did you have with Jim and with Pete Jenkins who is now retired?

HOWARD: Since Pete was my position coach I had a little bit more of a relationship with him, but I had a relationship with Jim. I was there for three years with him, so we got to know each other. He was a guy that I really respected not only as a coach, but as a man. Those are guys that had 50 or 60 years in football, the two of them. Those guys really knew what they were doing. They kind of handed things down to the younger generation.

Q: A lot of players at LSU have raved about Jenkins' techniques. What are some of the things that he taught you?

HOWARD: I think he did a great job with a lot of our young guys. By the time I got here, you get older and have your number of years in the league. By the time I got here, I was going into my seventh year in the leaguer and you kind of have your things you're stuck in. I think he did a great job with the young guys. He took Broderick Bunkley, who was really a raw talent. If you look at Broderick and a lot of his college tape, a lot of his production was raw talent and raw strength. He did a great job of molding that into a great NFL tackle.

Q: What do you think of the ongoing starcaps case from the perspective of an Eagle getting ready to the play the Saints this week and in terms of a player under the collective bargaining agreement?

HOWARD: I don't know. I really don't know what to say about that. It's a situation where guys are always looking to improve themselves in any legal way. I don't think those guys the way I know them would do anything that would take advantage of the policies the NFL hold. At the same time, you have to be aware of the consequences and things that can happen if you go outside the box and try to do things.

Q: Do you like the NFL's decision to not suspend them right away until the issues with the Minnesota players are being decided in courts?

HOWARD: I don't know. I don't have any comments as far as that.

Q: Have you had a chance to look at the Saints offense on tape and if so, what's your first reaction when you see the game last Sunday against Detroit?

HOWARD: We've had a chance to look at the tape and it's not something new. They have had a great offense ever since I've been out of there. You have a great quarterback who knows exactly where everybody is, takes great leadership of the team and he gets the ball out of there, so everything that you thought they would be before the first game they showed on Sunday. They have a lot of challenges and a lot of targets and weapons we have to make sure we take care of. It's a great challenge for us.

Q: Were you surprised with the way they ran the ball with Mike Bell the other day?

HOWARD: Any great offense, you have to have some kind of balance. I think they've found a weapon with Mike Bell they feel comfortable with, especially on the inside. We consider ourselves a great run-stopping team. That's what we want to do. We want to stop the run, make sure they don't get inside and take advantage of the inside gaps. Basically we just want to take care of the run and try to make the guys one dimensional.

Q: Might this game be a gauge for you guys as well as the Saints in terms of where you stand in the confidence and the NFL?

HOWARD: I think every week is, no matter who your opponent is. That's why you play the game. You have to go out there and perform. Even last week, even though New Orleans played a team that didn't win last year, they were supposed to win and when you go out there and do what you are supposed to do, that's always a plus no matter who you play. We're going to go out there and give it our best shot and see how things will turn out.

Q: You've been there when Kevin Kolb has played. Could you give us a brief scouting report on this guy since we don't have the quarterbacks to speak to? What can the Saints expect from this guy?

HOWARD: We'll see. I'm not going to give you a scouting report.

Q: How about a friendly scouting report?

HOWARD: He's a great quarterback. We have trust and faith in him.

Q: Period and end of story?


Q: Can you give us a rundown of Donovan McNabb? Personally have you ruled him out of the game or is this guy that tough that he's going to come back?

HOWARD: I don't know. I don't have comment about that. Donovan's Donovan. Everybody knows what kind of player he is. He makes big plays with both his arm and his feet, so everybody knows what he's about. He's a competitor and he wants to be on the field. If he can, he will be. If not, we're going with Kevin.

Q: What will Jeff Garcia bring to the table?

HOWARD: We'll see what happens. He just got here yesterday. He didn't go through training camp with us, even though he did a few years ago. It's not the same exact offense he's been running the last couple years so it's a learning curve for him. We'll see what happens.

Q: What do you attribute the year you had last year to?

HOWARD: I think I had a few better opportunities. I think I took better advantage of my opportunities and I lost a little bit of weight, got in shape and was able to help my team out a little bit more than I was the first two years. That's all you ever try to do to help your team.